Eva Mendez, Leslie Bibb, and Rosie Perez dance on stage at "Reminds you why you fell in love with theatre in the first place" -Kevin Spacey on "The 24 Hour Plays"
Some of Hollywood's most sought after stars joined forces on June 18 in Los Angeles, Calif., to take part in "The 24 Hour Plays: Los Angeles," a one-of-a-kind theater experience, sponsored by Montblanc, to benefit arts in education. The performance featured such stars as Eva Mendes, Saffron Burrows, Leslie Bibb, Jack McBrayer, David Eigenberg, Yvette Nicole Brown, Rosie Perez, Jenna Elfman, and many others who collaboratively wrote, directed, and performed six original short plays-all in just 24 hours.
The creative process of began at 10 p.m. on the Friday night before the show. Six writers, six directors, twenty-four actors, a musical guest, and production team all gathered at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Calif. Each cast member brainstormed ideas before the writers began drafting the scripts, which had to be finished by 6 a.m. the following morning. The actors rehearsed with the directors for the next 12 hours and then, in front of a live audience, performed the plays for the first and only time on Saturday evening.Saffron Burrows. Getty Images.
"There is a degree of excitement that people feel because both the actors and the audience are part of something that has never happened before and will never happen again, so just the fact of being a one-off, unique experience seems to exhilarate the audience in a way that is interesting and the fact that is makes money for an important organization is a fantastic by-product of that," said actress Saffron Burrows ("Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "The Bank Job") of the event.
This represented the inaugural West Coast performance of the plays, which are typically housed on Broadway. All proceeds from the event will benefit Urban Arts Partnership, a nonprofit that advances the intellectual, social, and artistic development of underserved public school students through arts-integrated programs to close the achievement gap.
"We have been able to provide thousands of students with arts education programs in New York. Now, we are pleased to be able to sponsor this exciting event and important program in Los Angeles," said Jan-Patrick Schmitz, president and CEO of Montblanc North America.
Jenna Elfman. Getty Images.The plays themselves included such themes as a Batman autopsy, a sex addict meeting gone wrong, a Chewbacca-like bear falling in love with a woman with an abusive boyfriend, and lots of Shake Weight references. Each of the six plays lasted approximately 10 minutes, and most were pretty darn hilarious, resulting in big laughs and applause from the audience. Guests were treated to Chandon bubbles, also a contributing sponsor of Urban Arts, before the show and during intermission to celebrate the occasion.
The most poignant moment of the evening came when a former student and scholarship recipient of the Urban Arts program, Olivia McClendon, recited her poem "Why I Write," which reminded people that the event wasn't about the celebrities on stage, but about the future of arts in education and the future of the kids involved.